Deaths-Defying Odds

 

Annual odds of an asteroid colliding with the Earth and obliterating all life: 1 in 50,000,000

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Annual odds of being killed in an airplane crash (United States) 1 in 432,484

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Of being killed while cycling (United States) 1 in 348,347

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Of dying from complications of medical or surgical care (United States) 1 in 101,858

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Of dying during an assault by firearm (United States) 1 in 25,263

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Of dying in a car accident (United States) 1 in 19,216

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Of any given species going extinct 1 in 1,000

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Of dying of cancer (United States) 1 in 527

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Of being a victim of identity theft 1 in 465

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Of dying of cancer (United Kingdom) 1 in 391

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Of one’s spouse or cohabiting partner committing adultery 1 in 20

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Of God not being dead (according to theoretical physicist Stephen Unwin) 1 in 1.5

 

SOURCES: Asteroid: New York Times, April 15, 2008. Airplane crash, cycling, complications, assault, and car accident: U.S. National Safety Council. Species: E.O. Wilson in Grist, December 12, 2001. Identity theft: Tech News Watch, November 12, 2004. U.K. cancer: Cancer Research UK. Infidelity: J. Treas and D. Giesen, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 2000. God: The Guardian, March 8, 2004.

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